5 Chinese Websites Your Company Needs to Use
China is a bubble. A huge, isolated bubble with poor food hygiene and a questionable approach to human rights. Far more importantly, there’s no Facebook, youtube, nor any of the more traditional methods of viewing LOL Cats.
Sounds like hell, don’t it?
Well not too worry, because despite it’s limitations, the internet world is alive and well in the Middle Kingdom. With an estimated 597 million people using Chinese Social Media – 38% of which using it to make shopping decisions, according to GO Globe – and with many of the cats in China looking a little skanky, now has never been a more important moment to get yourself in the loop.
So if you’re a new business looking to get into Chinese Online Marketing, here are 5 websites you need check out:
You know about Baidu, yeah? The Chinese Search behemoth that accounts for 8% of the world’s searches, making it the second largest search engine in the world? Course you do.
Before launching into your online business, you need to remember Baidu’s algorithm is roughly 10 years behind google, and as such puts emphasis on different aspects. Despite it’s recent Money Plant update, Baidu is still easily fooled by paid links, content mills, and other spammy sources that Google would see as warning signs.
Nevertheless, Baidu is making progress in leaps and bounds, and tried-and-tested techniques like keyword research can get you far (check out http://index.baidu.com/ – the Keyword Planner of the Chinese world.) Make sure you learn Baidu’s nuances and follow its updates to maximize your organic traffic.
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Weixin / WeChat
Weixin is probably one of my favourite examples of Social media. Okay, the main website can be a little buggy, and it isn’t well integrated for Macs (at least not mine,) but the Mobile App itself is a wonderfully intuitive IM with a nice sprinkling of social features that gives it more personality than something like Whatsapp.
Whilst it may not be as effective as Weibo for delivering PR and advertisements, Weixin is still great at connecting people to your business. After setting up your company profile, people can find you by using the ‘People Nearby’ plugin and follow you for updates.
I’ve found some very creative uses for this tool over the years, including a restaurant in Henan that gives out QR codes that you can scan with the App’s built in Reader to get discounts and special deals.
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With over 500 million users, Sina Weibo really is the uber-badass daddy of Chinese Social Media. Weibo is essentially a more flexible version of Twitter, with IM capabilities, games, groups, and no limit on how many characters you can paste on your wall.
Setting up an account can be a little tricky, as nowadays you need a Chinese ID card to do it (although this rule does tend to change often,) but once your in, the world is at your finger tips. On average, users follow 8 brands on Weibo, and 43% of netizens are interested in products friend share – much higher than in the west. If you have new products, offers and original content to share, Weibo is the place to spread the news.
When I first came to China a few years ago, I was inundated with requests for a thing called a ‘QQ number,’ which I later found to be China’s most popular IM tool. It’s a sign of the times that QQ is no longer as cool as it was, with even my friend’s in rural areas of Anhui having made the switch over to SIna Weibo for their IM needs.
One thing QQ does have though is a much more in depth Social Media aspect, otherwise known as QQ Zone. Although not as popular as it once was, the micro-messaging and blogging capabilities of this platform are not to be sniffed at, and with its huge userbase it is important to grab yourself a profile.
Renren has long been in decline, but I thought I’d give it a quick mention anyway. Traditionally seen as the website of choice for students, Renren is essentially a Facebook clone, completele with news feed and a recently updated timeline.
Renren’s enduring popularity is likely to be down in part to the fact it is the closest many Chinese can get to Facebook, and with a user base that has grown by 30 million in the last year to 194 millionm the numbers aren’t to be sniffed at. (source: chinainternetwatch.com)
Nick Beaumont is a Content Marketer and Writer from the UK. Having worked in shanghai in the Shanghai for a number of years, Nick has worked with startup Eccomerce Companies, producing awesome content and increasing online visibility for both Expat and Chinese markets.
You can read more from Nick on his blog: www.nbcontent.com